Arizona Cardinals strong safety Adrian Wilson was on the radio waves on Monday as he spoke to XTRA 910 host Mike Jurecki. He discussed, among other things, the lockout, his injury and the Ray Horton defense that we will see during the 2011 season. I was not surprised at some of the things he said, but I did learn more about his hip abductor injury that plagued him in 2010.
Wilson pulled no punches about his play. He refused to make excuses about his injury that he said got worse "the middle to the end of October." He acknowledged that it was a little hurt earlier, and most reports have claimed that it first occurred in the first game of the season against the St. Louis Rams. Apparently that was the initial injury and that it was reaggravated a little over a month later.
He was clear to clarify that the injury "didn't really have anything to do with the season (he) had."
At the same time, he knows that "by (his) standards, by Coach Whisenhunt's standards and the fans standards" he did not play that well.
However, the type of player that he is, he's "not out to prove anybody wrong" because he knows he's "a good player" in the NFL.
When asked about the defense, he says that we can expect something "very different." He describes it as "more of a team concept on defense." No more will the defensive execution depend on Wilson playing well, or Darnell Dockett, Karlos Dansby (past) or Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie playing well. "It's not that type of defensive scheme," says Wilson.
In the past, a guy like Clancy Pendergast, who was a previous defensive coordinator, schemed well to put certain players in position to make plays. It looks like Horton wants to depend less on individuals and wants the defense to work as a unit. That should bode well and it allows for players to come and go from the team and allow the defensive effectiveness continue.
Wilson already knows everything about the new defense, as he was "in there everyday" while it was possible before the lockout, but he does warn that "it is going to be a tough transition for a lot of guys" if they have not already been studying. To help with that, Wilson says that he is going to work "one-on-one" with those guys and get through the playbook and going over film.
As for the lockout, he "doesn't pay much attention to it," because he doesn't consider the lockout as time off for the players. They still have to get ready as if it were a regular offseason.
One thing we can expect is a player organized OTA at the end of June. Wilson is one of the guys trying to get the team together to work out and get ready for the 2011 season that hopefully will happen.
While 2010 was a disaster, I personally am very optimistic about the play of the defense and especially with a bounce back year from Wilson (if it is really possible to "bouce back" from a Pro Bowl season). He is a proud player and will do what he has to to be more of the player he expects to be.
You can listen to the whole interview from the XTRA podcast page.